Indian Wells D8 wrap: Navarro stuns Sabalenka

IT was a great day for the local fans at Indian Wells as they enjoyed both American women’s singles talents reaching the quarter finals. The biggest result was that of 23rd seed Emma Navarro who continued her fantastic 2024 form to knock off Australian Open winner and number two seed, Aryna Sabalenka.

In an up and down contest, the United States representative got through 6-3 3-6 6-2 over the Belarusian, who had only previously survived a scare against fellow American Peyton Stearns after facing three match points in the second round. However fast forward to the fourth round, and Sabalenka had run out of lives and Navarro, backing herself, took out the win and advanced through to the quarter finals.

Navarro won 65 and 56 per cent of her first and second serve points off a 60 per cent clip, saving four of six break point chances. However she managed to steal four of five opportunities from the world number two in a crunch performance against one of the most powerful players in the world.

Not turning 23 until May, the New York local advanced her win-loss record to 18-5 for the season, an incredible effort for a player who has shot up the world rankings off the back of her maiden WTA Tour title in Hobart.

“When I acknowledge my ranking right now compared to a year ago, it’s really crazy and seems really fast,” Navarro said to the WTA Insider Podcast earlier this week. “But then when I go out and hit or play a match, it doesn’t feel like anything’s happened that fast.” 

Next up for Navarro is Maria Sakkari, with the ninth seeded Greek talent surviving a three-set thriller against Frenchwoman Diane Parry in the Round of 16. Sakkari won 6-2 3-6 6-3 to reach the last eight and will be hoping to repeat the performance against Navarro from Dubai, where she defeated the American in straight sets.

“I know there’s a lot of challenges coming up for me ahead, just with always consistently playing against the best players in the world,” Navarro said. “It’s not easy, coming out and performing, week after week. So I know it’s going to be challenging. 

“But that’s kind of why I do it. I love to be challenged, and I love to push myself, and just try to continue to improve myself all the time. So, yeah, I’m in it for the challenge.” 

In other matches, fellow American and third seed Coco Gauff completely destroyed Belgian Elise Mertens 6-0 6-2 to face off against in-form Chinese representative Yue Yuan who is currently on a nine-match winning streak since lifting the WTA Tour 250 trophy in Texas just over a week ago. Yuan took another scalp in 11th seeded Russian Daria Kasatkina, 4-6 6-4 6-3.


[23] Emma Navarro (USA) defeated [2] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) 6-3 3-6 6-2
[3] Coco Gauff (USA) defeated [24] Elise Mertens (BEL) 6-0 6-2
[9] Maria Sakkari (GRE) defeated Diane Parry (FRA) 6-2 3-6 6-3
Yue Yuan (CHN) defeated [11] Daria Kasatkina (RUS) 4-6 6-4 6-3

The men’s singles did not have any surprises this time around with Italian lucky loser Luca Nardi – the man responsible for stunning world number one Novak Djokovic the other day – fell to local hope Tommy Paul in straight sets, 6-4 6-3.

Paul takes on ninth seed Casper Ruud in the quarter finals, who was made to work for his win over veteran Frenchman Gael Monfils. Dropping the first set, Ruud came back to win, 3-6 7-6 6-4. In the other matches, fourth seed Daniil Medvedev advanced with a straight sets victory over Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, while Holger Rune fought back from a set down against 12th seeded Taylor Fritz to win, 2-6 7-6 6-3.


[4] Daniil Medvedev (RUS) defeated [13] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 6-4 6-4
[7] Holger Rune (DEN) defeated [12] Taylor Fritz (USA) 2-6 7-6 6-3
[9] Casper Ruud (NOR) defeated Gael Monfils (FRA) 3-6 7-6 6-4
[17] Tommy Paul (USA) defeated [LL] Luca Nardi (ITA) 6-4 6-3

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments